Google, a search engine that started as a research project in 1996, has come to dominate the search world.
This immense domination of the Internet by Google led the Australian government to launch the last probe in the monopoly of the company on December 4th. And in June, the European Union fined the company a record 2.4 billion euros for manipulating research records. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said The edge:
“What Google did is illegal under EU antitrust rules. It deprived other companies of the opportunity to compete on the merits and innovate. And most importantly, it deprived European consumers of a real choice of services and all the advantages of innovation.
Clearly, the search engine industry could use an infusion of fresh blood not only to maintain the spirit of innovation, but also to give consumers choice. What if the next generation search engine was community powered and based on open source technology? Presearch, an open and decentralized research project that rewards users, contributors and promoters, bets that with the right tools, the community can compete with the greats.
The tokenization of research
Pre-search recently launched a beta version that allows users to search for different providers through a single search box. The project believes this is the first step to breaking the dependence we all have on Google. It seems to work; more than 50% of beta testers became daily users, generating more than 20 pageviews per day on average. Over 2,000 beta testers are waiting to test the search engine.
Presearch allows to search Google, Amazon, DuckDuckGo and others. The platform combines Blockchain rewards to incentivize users to make the switch and build a community around search tokenization. Beta users can earn rewards at the rate of eight tokens per day.
Like pre-research white paper states: “We are exploring a model that will allow members running a Presearch browser extension (and potentially a standalone browser) to act as web crawler and indexer nodes that would create the Presearch index when browsing the website. This would allow Presearch to circumvent one of the most difficult exploration challenges; be blocked by webmasters. Members running nodes will earn PRE tokens in exchange for using their computers and internet connections for Presearch.
Leveraging Blockchain to Create a Next Generation Search Engine
Using Blockchain technology, Presearch plans to allow users to personalize their experience while maintaining control of their data. Blockchain-based user verification will help the project combat fraud that is sure to occur when users attempt to game the system to earn more tokens.
Smart contracts will allow ad revenue to be split between users and the project. Decentralization will allow Presearch to shift development to the community and there are already early indications of this happening. The project has people from all over helping curate content, organize local teams, develop add-ons, and provide feedback.
The real heart of the project is the community
The project took a community-centric approach from the start and will eventually allow members to help build and maintain the search engine which is based on an open source framework.
Presearch recently endowed a community-controlled DAO with 550 ETH to begin establishing the governance model and setting up the project for the second phase, which it expects to enter in late 2018 or early 2019.
Colin Pape, the founder of Presearch reveals:
“We’re thrilled with the early reception of the beta and the level of enthusiasm within the early adopter community. It’s amazing to be a part of it, and it’s great that we can reward these members for helped improve the platform and spread the word with PRE tokens.
Successful token sale
After the successful sale of Presearch tokens which generated $16 million in revenue, the project is ready to build an ecosystem based on Presearch Tokens (PRE). One interesting strategy they deploy to ensure participation is search gamification. Users will be rewarded for the actions they perform. The PRE will be used for usage, promotion and contribution related rewards. It will also be used for sponsorships and promotional placements. The PRE will be the way to reward partners who bring traffic and visibility to the search engine and the PRE will also have a role of contributing to community affairs and will be used to encourage development projects. Members will also be able to reward other members.
Take a strategic approach
Building a search engine is complex and expensive, however, Presearch has taken a new path by symbolizing search and relying on community involvement to take on the incumbents of the base while keeping the organization lean.
With Presearch successfully integrating leaders in the search space such as Rich Skrenta, co-founder of the Open Directory Project (DMOZ) and Trey Grainger, author of the #1 book on Solr, the open source search technology of its advisory team makes it ready for the challenges in the $100 billion search market. Will they be able to put Google to the challenge? The best answer is perhaps that of Pape who says:
“After fighting Google head-on in 2011 when they blocked access to our ShopCity.com network, we realized face-to-face was not a viable strategy. We barely escaped this encounter with them due to an ongoing antitrust investigation that has shed additional light on our situation.This time we are taking a more strategic approach.
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